This summer our family took our first beach vacation just the four of us. We have been to the beach many times with Court’s parents living in California and then family vacations with them to Mexico. But, we’ve never taken a true vacation not visiting family or with family. We’ve heard so many amazing things about 30A (the strip of highway in which the towns Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Seacrest, Seaside, and Destin) run along that we had to go ourselves!
I picked my friends, Jenn and Blair’s, brains about the area when they went on vacations the previous year. Both of them suggested Seacrest instead of Seaside as it was less costly to rent a home. So, the VRBO search began. We settled upon the Little Gray Cottage. I loved the idea of having a personal pool in the backyard. On our California trips the kids love the beach but are over it a short time later. You can search VRBO and come across hundreds of darling rentals that range from sleeping 4 to 20.
One mistake I did make was that we didn’t rent a car initially. When you hear about Seaside you hear that everyone rides bikes (which is true) but you can’t get from Rosemary Beach to Seaside with a 7 and 8 year old on bicycles. We also rented an electric cart and didn’t know until we got into trouble that they aren’t allowed in most of the towns. And Uber rides were about $30 a pop. So, a few days in we Ubered to the airport and rented a car.
Since our house was fully furnished we had our cab driver stop at Publix for groceries on the way to the house from the airport. We ate breakfast and packed sandwiches and drinks for the beach but ate our dinners out. I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t super impressed with the food at most places we ate for all of the hype. I did have a few favorite places that I would eat at again and those were Charlie’s Donut Truck and Georges in Alys Beach, The Surfing Deer in Seagrove, and Bud & Alleys and the Great Southern in Seaside.
We honestly spent most of our days at the beach. The house we rented came with two beach chairs, a table, and an umbrella on the sand that were set up every day at sunrise and taken down every day at sunset. We loved this as it made it so easy for us to just pack a cooler, some towels, and beach toys and be on our way. When we go back to the area this service will be a definite must have on our list of places to rent.
With my husband being from California I didn’t think he would be a fan of Florida. But, we all absolutely LOVED the beach and the area. With the white sand and warm water we spent all day every day at the beach hunting for seashells, catching fish (Ella even caught a seahorse!), bodyboarding and paddle boarding. One afternoon the kids along the beach collected their beach buckets and made an aquarium for all of the creatures they caught.
One night we even headed back down to the beach to hunt sand crabs. You can find our sand crab catching nets (with attached flash lights) HERE.
Another fun thing we did was hit up The Hub in Watersound. With a DJ, lots of little restaurants, ice cream, and a huge screen for movies (or in the night we went the NHL playoffs game). It was a hot spot for families!
We did hire a babysitter from a highly recommended service called Babysitters at the Beach. Let me preface this by saying our children always stay with family or trusted friends or employees of ours. We’ve never hired a random sitter and mama was a nervous wreck. I know they do background checks and all of the things. But, I still was anxious during our entire dinner. We came back early to the kids having an absolute blast with our sitter. They didn’t want her to leave. For our date night we had dinner at the Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach which was gorgeous!